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Hospitality in Egypt

By Preston Price

    The people in Egypt were incredibly friendly and perhaps more welcoming than any other  places that I have visited on this voyage.  I recall many instances where I would be walking down the street and locals would say things like “hello,” “speak English,” or  “American.”  They would say such things in attempt to get a response and as soon as I responded by saying hello or I am American, they would just smile with incredible enthusiasm and say "Welcome to Egypt."  People everywhere were telling me “Welcome to Egypt.”   On one specific occasion some guys did this on a moped that was slowly passing by.  I was quite surprised because although they were moving slowly due to traffic, they made no attempt to stop and talk.  This proved to me that the Egyptian people truly are friendly and genuinely welcoming to many outsiders.  Such welcoming experiences were very pleasing due to the fact that in previous ports, such as India for example, when a local would say something to me it was almost always because they wanted to ask for money or sell me something.  Such happenings rarely occurred in Egypt and predominately only outside of major tourist attractions.

    I met a few people in Egypt that showed me the utmost hospitality.  The first day in Cairo a man stopped me in the street to spark a conversation.  He said he was from Cario but works and lives in Sharm el Sheikh.   He comes to Cairo for about a week once every month.  He seemed really curious of Americans and quickly offered  to show us around.  A friend from Semester at Sea and I spent the rest of the evening with him, and it was truly a great way to experience the culture.  We spent most of the night conversing at a local restaurant/bar, but he even escorted us to a local Egyptian wedding that another man from the bar invited us to.   This man is a good model for better understanding internal migration issues in Egypt.

    In Luxor, I met a guy who was just a few years older than.  He confronted me as soon as I walked out of the hotel and stood around for a while.  I guess I looked lost or unsure of where to go, so he asked me where I wanted to go and offered to show me around.  The cool thing is that he was technically not a cab driver.  We spent the next couple days together and he even volunteered to serve as my cab for the next couple of days.   He said that he was also a student and had moved here from the northern region of Sudan.  He didn’t elaborate on why he left Sudan, but he did mention that the standard of living is better for him here and he goes to school in Luxor.  In Castle's and Miller's book, The Age of Migration, Chapter 5 deals with the state and international migration including a discussion on the topic of refugees.  It explains that in recent years countries hit by war, violence, and chaos have been responsible for sending refugees to safer and more stable economies.  Sudan is listed as one of these refugee sending countries and perhaps that is why the young Sudanese man had left Sudan for nearby Egypt.  Regardless of his cause for leaving, he and everyone else that I met who lived in Egypt appeared to be very happy and content with their lifestyles.  I am confident that contenment with one's lifestyle has an effect on the people that live in Egypt, who happen to be the most hospitable people I have ever met.

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